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GP Week : Issue 60
>>GPWEEKOPINION m the past for technical changes, these weren’t given to the FIA for re-homologation; they were immediately passed down the line to the production car designers. Rallies in those days covered much ground faster than nowadays. Normal average speed schedules were set at 60kph, not 50kph as is now the norm. Endurance rather than speed was a major factor, and driver stayed awake for extended periods of time because of ‘wakey-wakey’ pills … Chambers regretted their use, not the least because they disturbed normal human appetites! Chambers details how BMC tackled the 1956 Monte Carlo Rally, They entered 12 cars from a total of four different starting points. Costs were minimal by today’s standards. After a fire at the factory, a replacement car had to be flown to Stockholm in a chartered freighter plane. It was worth the cost because the driver of the car to be was the BBC commentator Raymond Baxter, a journalist worth the money! Finding the right drivers for the new BMC team was not easy for Chambers. The problem was that all the best British drivers were already snapped up by one of the various other British teams. And how many there were – HRG, Daimler, Ford, Sunbeam, Triumph and so on! Drivers had other jobs in their lives; there was no full time rally driving. Some were racing drivers, others had any number of professions including farmers, police chief, clergyman, an architect, a barrister, shop keeper,and, of course, garage owners. a different colour races, he will have to fight for his status when he returns. And if Stoner does come back strong, having a superfast team-mate only gave Lorenzo strength at Yamaha. Why not again? Lorenzo is an almost eerily self-contained young man – his Sophrology discipline wouldn’t allow him to be otherwise, and he must work hard at it. His crash at Brno meant waving goodbye to any last championship chances and accepting second best to the Doctor once again. Yet there was no hint of broiling emotion inside as he explained his error in his debrief. Instead he radiated calm and logic in a quite extraordinary way, even gently amused as he spoke about how his roly-poly man air-bag leathers had left him unable to move properly when they failed to deflate on cue. This might make it easier to cope with the pressure of the decision. But it doesn’t make the decision itself any easier. Personally, I hope he stays. Having two such great talents on identical bikes and tyres has ensured some superb close racing this year, right to the last corner on the memorable occasion at Barcelona. It also makes their rivalry more personal. The way it should be. But I’d be just as pinned to the trackside if he did make the move. Rossi and Stoner had some good battles too, Yamaha versus Duke. And often, with really good riders, changing bikes is just another way of adding to one’s repertoire. 21 One piece that particularly grabbed my attention concerned the importance of having the biggest selection of spare parts at rally’s end, to ensure cars could be driven back to base afterwards … I did not really know Marcus Chambers. He was my team manger when we competed in a prize drive car on the 1967 Tulip Rally, and I remember him as a quiet man with a dignity distinct from the bosses of the sport today. In those days there were different issues, different situations, but the ultimate challenge was no different to what it is today – making a success of the opportunities which present themselves. If the guys in those days had not worked out the way to make rallying work, there would be no rallying nowadays.